This is a very different picture book, but I really liked it. First off, the illustrations by Jon Klassen are perfect for the story. Klassen’s style and ability to tell a story through images are absolutely perfect for this story.
A man and his two young children live in a new house. There are no trees immediately around the house because they were cleared to do the building. As time evolves, we see the children growing older, but the man takes great pride in his yard and keeps the area cleared of any small sprouts of trees. Eventually the children grow up and move away, and the house becomes too much for the man to keep and he moves away too. Then the woods start to take back over and lift the house into their branches.
The story is sad from the point of view of the children leaving and the old man feeling lonely. It is also sad at the beginning when the children find such joy in playing in the nearby woods, but the father only seems to find joy in keeping the woods from getting close to the house. I felt uncomfortable about the relationship between the father and children.
Primarily for this reason, I would recommend this book for older children. I would probably also recommend it be tied to some type of lesson about nature and how it will encroach on civilization. It could be paired with The Curious Garden!
I like the ending of the book. It focuses on the strength of the trees and their sheltering aspect.